OPEN ROAD REVIEW POETRY PRIZE 2015 (Joint Runner-up)
Grandpa poached a rabbit once, before turning
vegan; that picture is still on the wall,
alongside the photo which confirms
he got Grandma as well.
Pictures don’t speak names, but memory
becomes an old man’s commotion.
Grandma probably declined to having any of
her photos put up on the wall
or nobody asked her. I didn’t.
I just wanted Grandpa and Grandma to sit
on the veranda, where loftiness of slow lives
could, perhaps, be discovered. Grandma’s chemise
had leafy sketches, of crack-opened skies –
Grandpa, probably, struggled to tell the difference
and looked up, occasionally, as if to confirm
that these cracks were not in his eyes.
If not for the rain, or the bread they had
for years broken together, they refused
to step back inside. It probably scared
them both, that their coffin-fitting clothes
seemed wrapped rather than worn. It scared
Grandpa to think, how easy it would be, to not
miss here when she would be gone. It scared
him more that it would be easier for her.
They were angry at each other for getting old, and
for having crumpled skin that read like trashed paper.
Grandpa, though, still liked to tell us stories of how
he had grown through dark years, and that Grandma
at that time, was the woman closest
to the sun – her rabbits, wet, in his shade.